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‘A dream come true.' Former UCLA running back DeShaun Foster named Bruins' head coach

Former UCLA running back DeShaun Foster has been named the Bruins’ head football coach, the school announced Monday.

Foster, a member of the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame, has been part of the Bruins’ coaching staff for 10 years, including the past seven as the team’s running back coach. He also served as associate head coach in 2023.

“This is a dream come true,” Foster said. “I always envisioned being a Bruin ever since I was young, and now being the head coach at my alma mater is such a surreal feeling, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. The foundation of this program will be built on discipline, respect and enthusiasm. These are phenomenal young men, and I’m excited to hit the ground running.”

The announcement comes following the departure of Chip Kelly, who stepped down Friday after six seasons leading the Bruins, leaving the school with a vacancy at the top just as programs are starting to gear up for spring practices.

Foster, one of the school’s most decorated running backs, ranks second in touchdowns scored (44), third in rushing yards (3,194) and fifth in scoring (266 points). Foster graduated from UCLA in 2014 and was enshrined in the school’s athletic hall of fame in October 2022.

He went on the play for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers from 2002 to 2007 and San Francisco 49ers in 2008.

Foster played at Tustin High School.

Foster’s return comes two months before the Bruins begin spring practice as they prepare to join the Big Ten. It could also help mitigate a large exodus of the roster since players have a 30-day period to enter the transfer portal after a coaching change.

UCLA’s running game was one of the strengths during Kelly’s six seasons in charge. The Bruins led the Pac-12 in rushing the past two years and have been in the top 20 nationally three straight seasons.

Foster coached running backs that were selected in the NFL draft four straight years — Zach Charbonnet (Seattle, 2023), Brittain Brown (Las Vegas, 2022), Felton (Cleveland, 2021) and Kelley (Los Angeles Chargers, 2020).

Foster was also the Bruins running back the last time they won the Pac-12 and went to the Rose Bowl in 1998.

Kelly had a 35-34 record with the Bruins, but the program was showing signs of stagnating ahead of its move to the Big Ten. UCLA was expected to contend for a Pac-12 title in 2023, but was 8-5, including losses in three of their last four regular-season games.

Kelly expressed interest in NFL offensive coordinator jobs as well as the opening at Boston College before heading to Ohio State. Kelly also talked to Oregon about a possible return two years ago.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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